WWN presents the true story of Bat Boy in a series excerpted from the hit book, Going Mutant: The Bat Boy Exposed!
“In a world gone batty… there was one Bat who could save the world.”
In an exclusive agreement with Barry Leed, PhD (MBS) and Neil McGinness ( the authors of Going Mutant: The Bat Boy Exposed), WWN will excerpt parts of the popular Bat Boy book for our readers. It tells the complete story of Bat Boy – and he’s not happy with us, because the book contains classified, personal, sensitive files concerning Bat Boy that have never been made public.
The book can be ordered HERE.
This entry is from Chapter 2, THE MAMMAL MESSIAH:
Two days earlier, Dr. Dillon had text- ed me that he was closing in on Bat Boy again. He had tracked the mutant to a mountain cave near Seneca Rocks, West Virginia, only twelve hundred yards away from the very same cave where he had first captured Bat Boy in June 1992.
Early in his career, Dr. Dillon had earned respect within the scientific community for his work on natural color selection among winged mammals. Then, in 1992, he found Bat Boy in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Dillon was two miles below Earth’s surface in a cave complex when he heard a faint squeal of pain. As it turned out, Bat Boy’s foot had wedged into a crack between two rocks.
With Bat Boy temporarily immobilized, Dillon was able to sedate him with a tranquilizer dart. Dillon took the creature to his lab in Wheeling for observation. Dillon’s life would never be the same. The acolytes in his lab called him the Mammal Messiah. Every researcher in the lab felt as though they had hitched their petri dish to the next Charles Darwin. When Dillon hired me in 1992 as a research assistant, I was on summer break from writing my doctoral dissertation in mutant bat studies at the University of Indianapolis. As an eager young doctoral candidate, I gained Dillon’s trust and was granted second-class, or supervised, access to the creature.
My memory of that first day in Dillon’s lab remains with me to this day. Dillon assembled the staff to introduce me and began to speak in his trademark scientific tone that dispelled all mystery. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is young candidate Barry Leed. He is to have full access to all of your findings, and you all are to consider his inquiries with the expeditiousness that you do mine. He is here because he is what you all routinely fail to be: perfectly, incorruptbly, and passionately aware of what would befall the human race if our bat population were to ever be compromised. I have never known a young scientist of such purpose—with, of course, the exception of myself. You are all to consider him my Moses.”
I couldn’t have predicted that my dissertation work on the relevance of bats to the human ecosystem would strike the chord it did with Dr. Dillon. My professors back in Indy treated my work with skepticism.
My adviser warned that my theories relied solely on hyperbole and worst-case scenarios. “Beware of the temptation to invent the catastrophes you hope to prevent, Mr. Leed. History tends to treat this kind of scientific/martyr complex with enduring scorn. And the decision makers in the grant department tend not to fund them. You should also know that this so-called Mammal Messiah, Dr. Dillon, is rumored to dabble in mutants just like a Bigfoot hunter. Watch yourself out there, Mr. Leed, or you’ll end up teaching remedial science to a bunch of illiterates at Podunk Middle School.”
Instinct compelled me to leave Indy. In my gut I knew that the Mammal Messiah was no circus act. Yet my heart wanted to stay put. In those first weeks, the swirling lab smells of formaldehyde and other chemical agents couldn’t shake the lingering scent of sweet Marie in my bed. It killed me to leave her back then. Years later, even after all of the deceit and humiliation, I still catch myself drawn back into those early days of our romance, in Indian-no- place, Indiana, of all places, sucking back cold beers down in Broad Ripple in between marathon lovemaking sessions on those oppressively hot Midwestern summer nights. Johnny Freakin’ Mellencamp in a dirty lab coat.
Dillon despised the innocence of my uncomplicated, beer-swilling, Midwestern youth. The doctor knew that in the back recesses of his lab prowled the one thing that would shatter my innocence forever: on the morning of September 19, 1992, Dillon took me to meet Bat Boy.
Dr. Dillon led me through his main lab area, where we passed by his staff of tight-lipped, anal white coats and the petri dishes they dutifully manned. No one looked up as we moved toward the back of the lab. Dillon was a task- master and a vicious perfectionist; his staff never made eye contact with him and pressed on with their work as if it were the Manhattan Project for bats.
At the back of the lab, an addition had been made to the building. The gaps of ceiling panels above and the differing vinyl floor surfaces that joined together unevenly beneath my feet suggested that the addition had been done hastily to make room for an unexpected, special purpose. In the middle of the threshold of this newly created addition, a janitor sporting a name tag that read scheming swept patches of scuffed plaster into a central pile.
“Morning, Doc,” the janitor greeted Dr. Dillon. Dillon walked on without acknowledging the sweeper. The hallway grew darker. I noticed that the fluorescent light tubes had been removed from the ceiling fixtures and that someone had placed cardboard boxes over the windows and taped them over. We reached a steel door flanked by a guard sitting in a fold- ing metal card-table-style chair.
Perched in the chair outside the door with a wooden baseball bat in his hand sat Alan Thrush. Thrush wore taut fatigues and over- sized aviator glasses, and had a nine-millimeter gun strapped to his side. I could smell wet tobacco. Thrush’s jaw had an uneven jut that suggested some kind of shrapnel incident. This was a man who had stuck his chin out too many times. “Thrush here is in charge of security, Mr. Leed. Thrush, Mr. Leed here is being granted second-class access.”
“Boss, you sure about that? You ain’t known the kid too long. How do you know he ain’t with femur?” Thrush peered over his shades to make eye contact with Dillon. Dillon nodded. “Nice to meet ya. Call me Thrush,” the guard said as he waved the bat in front of my face. The bat came from a Cooperstown souvenir shop called the Hall of Fame Bat Company. thrush was branded on the side.
Underneath, the second brand read kontra killer. Lab scuttlebutt later in- formed me that Thrush had served as some kind of mercenary before Blackwater made that line of work glamorous. Thrush fancied himself the Sultan of Sandinista SWAT. On his coffee breaks, Thrush could be found in the lounge doing check swings with his souvenir bat, bragging loudly to unimpressed females about what he called the Thrush & Ollie show, a reference to his Sandinista-thumping, back-jungle Nicaraguan adventures with contra supporter Colonel Ollie North. Thrush now earned his keep running security for Dr. Dillon.
“Thrush, I don’t pay you to question my judgment. I pay you to kill anyone who tries to enter this door without my authorization. Mr. Leed, you have now met the real Bat Boy, our rent-a-cop Alan Thrush. Thrush, just add Leed to the short list, please. As for anyone else, it’s—” “I know, Doc, I know,
two in the chest and one in the head. And you don’t have to tell me how to do my job.” Thrush picked up a pa- per coffee cup and fired a sluice of tobacco juice into it. He then stood up to begin unlocking the three dead bolts on the steel door.
With the dead bolts cleared, Dillon stepped forward to use his keys to open the first steel door. He led me into a dark anteroom. Thrush poked his head in and handed two cylinders to Dillon. “Here are your bugs, Doc.” Then Thrush reached out to me offering two earplugs. “Kid, you’re going to want these. Bet you haven’t heard a squeal this loud since prom night. Hell, I ain’t heard a squeal that loud since I stuck a
Sandie with my bowie down in Nicky Gra-Gra.”
“That’ll be all, Thrush,” Dillon ordered while he secured a miner’s hard hat to his head and turned on the head- lamp. Thrush retreated and closed the door and began fastening the dead bolts. Dillon tested a penlight by pointing it into my eyes. “For the time being, you are not to be trusted with any flashlights. The slightest mistake with a flashlight and you’ll set him off.” Dillon then handed me a pair of thick protective mittens. “You’ll want these on as well. These are animal- trainer-approved gloves.”
Mind you, all I knew of Bat Boy that summer was what I had read in Weekly World News.
Unverifiable smatterings had been printed about the sighting of a potential missing link in the Shenandoah Mountains, but as I stood there in the dark, suffering a rash of very real paranoia that Dr. Dillon had not-so-platonic motives concerning me—he was, after all, awfully appreciative of my talents—I didn’t know whether to dirty my shorts or cry for help. What the hell was I getting myself into? Dillon pushed us through a low-ceilinged alcove and began to futz with more locks and yet another door.
“Stay calm, Mr. Leed. Life is about to become very interesting for you. You are about to meet
my Chiropteran Tot, or Bat Boy, as the press corps has labeled him.
Whatever you do, keep your arms and fingers to your sides. Don’t tempt him with any sudden movements. You’ll get only a glimpse from the penlight. Bat Boy’s not so fond of daylight, or any other light, for that matter. Temperamental prick. Trust me, you don’t ever want to anger him. The little guy’s stronger than an ox on steroids.”
As we passed through the second set of bolted steel doors, all external noises ceased. It was dead silent. Dillon put his shoulder up against a large iron bar and slid it back to un- lock another large steel door. The door swung open. Using the door as a shield, Dillon hid behind the steel to make sure the mutant was caged. Convinced he was enclosed, he inched forward. Inside it was dark, pitch-black. Dillon waved the weak light beam across the creature and I caught my first glimpse of Bat Boy.
He moved in a rush, a quick, pale sixty-five- pound blur of motion. Dillon pointed the flashlight toward him again, and it seemed to dazzle him for a moment. Bat Boy froze and I caught him clearly. The creature had a haunting white lantern of a face that looked to be the unholy by-product of a one-night stand between Nosferatu and Mickey Mouse. His bulging eyes darted back and forth. When his bulbous pupils moved, the whites of his eyes shone wildly in the darkness. I could feel his core torso muscles tighten and detected his large ears prick back just like a horse when it senses danger. Suddenly the bat child let loose a bloodcurdling scream. My eardrums nearly burst and my pants soaked instantly. I had forgotten to insert the earplugs and dropped them to the floor in fright. The scream had to register over 120 decibels.
“Sweet Marie, get me out of here,” I said to myself, longing to be back in the flat Indiana plains pressed against the acreage of her rolling curves. Dillon used the penlight to open a large cylinder that he had brought with him. It was packed solid with mosquitoes, and they started buzzing around the room. Bat Boy went to work darting about devouring the bugs. He was caged but you could feel the air move and hear the swish as he sprang back and forth inhaling his protein with wings beating. Dillon then reached into his lab coat pocket and threw five frozen dead mice into his cage. “Here you go, Tot. I didn’t forget dessert.”
Dillon motioned for us to back out of the room. On the way out, his headlamp flashed near Bat Boy’s right ear, causing another shriek. While he chewed hungrily on his mouse-icle, I saw what looked like an earring.
The chiropteran bared his teeth and hissed a stream of liquid at me. My cheek felt the splatter of warm goo. Dillon grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out of the room. “It’s his natural anticoagulant. Don’t worry, it’s harm- less—unless he bites you. If he bites you and injects that anticoagulant into your wound, you’ll never stop bleeding. When he spits, that means he’s ready to eat. Let’s get out of here.”
As we emerged, Thrush pointed his bat to- ward me, on the end of which he had placed a soiled towel. “That mutant got you pretty good, kid. Here, take this to clean up.” Not wanting to offend the guard, I grabbed the crusty old oil rag. Warm urine dripped down my pant legs. Loud ringing obscured my hearing. In the space between my two damaged ears, a warm, filmy goo coated my face. My eyes started to sting. My heart pounded with a disorientating fear. My dignity crushed by this caged creature, I hobbled back toward Dillon’s office, sliming the lab hallway with a snail trail of wetness.
Back in the safety of Dillon’s office, I regained some composure. I toweled off and spoke to the doctor.
“Was he wearing an earring?”
“Good. You noticed that. We had to sedate the hell out of him to get that in. It’s a transponder. I am hoping that it’ll give us the opportunity to track him one day back to the race of people he left underground. I am hoping this little guy leads us to his tribe. You did good in there, candidate Leed. His appetite is insatiable. I really don’t have enough to feed him.
That feeding you witnessed is merely a fraction of the bug intake that he would consume in the wild. I am waiting for my bug shipment to get here.”
Dillon was understandably obsessed with the creature. He refused to think of Bat Boy as a mutant, as most others did. Based on his knowledge of natural selection, Dillon believed that Bat Boy belonged to a new species of subterranean cave dwellers. I remember him telling me, “Find one mutant and get your name in the paper; find an entire new species and you’re Charlie friggin’ Darwin.”
He told Weekly World News in his famous interview announcing the discovery of the creature, “His eyes are twice as big as they should be, and his ears are like satellite dishes. This boy clearly belongs to a race of people who live miles beneath the surface. It’s my belief that they evolved batlike features to enable them to survive in total darkness.” He went on to explain, “Bat Boy almost certainly strayed from a much larger pack.”
The doctor pulled open a steel file cabinet door to show me the records he had begun to compile on the creature. To this day, I re- member seeing that initial file and knowing then and there that I could not retreat to the Hoosier hospitality of my native state and the pinup-pretty Marie. This was the front line of everything that I had studied for and I had just glimpsed what they can’t teach you in school. Just like Dillon, I found myself ensnared under Bat Boy’s spell. The buzzing in my ears melted into a rhythmic whoosh as an ethereal calm came over me. I was disoriented, my pants were wet, my hearing cut in and out, and warm goo was crusted on my face, yet somehow my anxiety dissipated now as it all sank in. My muscles relaxed as though I had ingested a strong benzodiazepine. Bat Boy was my medicine. Everything felt soft and fuzzy, even Dillon’s pointy fifties-style glasses. In that moment, I knew I had fallen off the precipice into a life-altering free fall. Sorry, Marie, there would be no turning back.
My life was about to become the cave I had always wanted it to be. I was in it, beautifully lost in a subterranean alternate universe, where I found myself seated at the right hand of the Mammal Messiah himself. As I scanned the documents Dillon handed me, he began speaking in excited tones about how close he was to communicating with the creature. He told me that within months he would locate Bat Boy’s lost tribe, that there were other species out there to be discovered. The tingling sensation in my ears made my hearing itself seem more acute. It was as if I were hearing for the first time. Everything began to make sense. My eyes bore through Dillon’s glasses. We locked eyes as I held the file close to my chest and listened intently to his spellbinding theories. I had become a disciple of the Mammal Messiah.
…the Bat Boy story will continue…